Radical Acceptance

This week we explored the theme of Radical Acceptance in our daily sessions. Bloom Pause is a community offering that meets remotely using Zoom. Each week we explore a new theme through discussion, sharing, meditation, and practices to improve daily life. If you'd like to join Bloom Pause, please email [email protected].

For exploring the theme of Radical Acceptance, we highly recommend Tara Brach's book, Radical Acceptance: Embracing your Life with the Heart of a Buddha. In it, she writes, "Much of our driven pace and habitual controlling in daily life does not serve to survive, and certainly not thriving. It arises from a free-floating anxiety about something being wrong or not enough... Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience. We begin to trust in our natural intelligence, in our naturally wise heart, in our capacity to be open to whatever arises. Like awakening from a dream, in the moment of pausing our trance recedes and Radical Acceptance becomes possible."

"...by embracing whatever we see with an open heart. This cultivation of mindfulness and compassion is what I call Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance reverses our habit of living at war with experiences that are unfamiliar, frightening, or intense. It is the necessary antidote to years of neglecting ourselves, years of judging and treating ourselves harshly, years of rejecting this moment's experience. Radical Acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our life as it is. A moment of Radical Acceptance is a moment of genuine freedom."

Group perspectives on Radical Acceptance:

  • It can be harder to accept ourselves when another can't accept something about us. We may then find it harder to accept them too, as they are.
  • It is easier to accept what is out of my control, for example, the Coronavirus and California fires than it is to accept something that is in my control.
  • We may have a tendency to beat ourselves up for what we haven't gotten done during the day, particularly if we hold certain expectations based on what we used to get done in the past.
  • Once we write down and see all the things we have got done during the day, we can form a new level of acceptance by realizing it is okay whatever we are able to get done.
  • We don't need to keep doing "more" or perform, prove, perfect or please in order to be worthy and radically accept ourselves.
  • Self-acceptance is an important part of our continual self-growth and development.
  • Important to also accept all of our experiences as they are, as we cannot change them. 
  • However, we must allow space for deep emotions that we feel, in order to allow these to be processed and released. Call on a trusted friend or professional if necessary to process. 
  • Radical acceptance is not condoning a situation. It allows experiences, emotions, and thoughts to be held with love and forgiveness so that any stagnant or stuck energy can be released. We become lighter and able to flow more in life as a result.
  • Radical acceptance enables one to respond with clarity. It is transformational, a process of growth, and a practice of cultivating love and acceptance of oneself and all situations.
  • We learn a new way to respond with compassion for ourselves and others through the practice of pause and radical acceptance: "I did the best I could at the time", "They did the best they could at the time"
  • We no longer need to struggle with feelings of hopelessness, we can cultivate hope and optimism through pausing, which opens up choices for us.
  • One suggestion is to have notes around our environment to remind ourselves to pause and find compassion for ourselves.
  • When we send compassion to our past parts, we change our relationship with the past and create new neuro-pathways.
  • Sometimes life can feel like the game 'whack-a-mole', where you learn to accept one part and then another part comes up to be worked on.
  • Use the breath to calm the nervous system and come to a place of acceptance. Also, invite your child parts to breathe with you, it is very soothing.
  • Self-validation and self-acceptance can be achieved when we share our stories and feelings with those who have had similar experiences and emotions. It is helpful to find out we are not the only ones and that others may feel the same.
  • Put the should've, could've, and would've thoughts aside. We can't change the things we did or didn't do in the past, however, we can form a new perspective through compassion and radical acceptance.
  • When reflecting on the past, perhaps we can see and accept that what we did was not inappropriate, we are only human and perhaps may have lost focus at the time. 
  • Important to assess where we are now, this is where we are going, therefore what are the next few steps to get there. Helps us take responsibility for how we respond and move forward in our life.

Suggested practice:

Pause.

As you go through your day, occasionally pause to ask yourself:

"In this moment, am I accepting of myself as I am?"

Try these words:

In spite of my (...)

It is the will of my heart to be open.

I notice my breath ...

I notice my body ...

I offer the Light of my Awareness to that which is challenging my

acceptance for whatever is needed for transformation.

And, so it is.

In bloom we grow,

Maria Mellano

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